Racist. Anti-Semitic. Unhinged.
The suspect in Tuesday’s shooting on the New York City subway is a prolific user of social media, regularly uploading lengthy, often racist diatribes to both YouTube and Facebook in which he addresses a range of topics from the state of race relations in the United States to the policies of New York City Mayor Eric Adams, according to videos reviewed by Rolling Stone.
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After being named a person-of-interest Tuesday evening, Adams said Frank R. James, 62, was now considered a suspect in the shooting, which took place in Brooklyn during morning rush hour aboard a Manhattan-bound N train between 59th and 36th streets around 8:30 a.m. Adams gave a series of interviews Wednesday morning, April 13, during which he said he was confident James would be arrested soon. He also offered an update on four people who were injured during the attack, saying they were still hospitalized.
“We’re going to catch this person, and we’re going to bring him to justice and hold him responsible for this horrific act,” Adams said on CNN (via The New York Times).
One of the photos of James released by NYPD was taken from a recently uploaded YouTube video titled “STOP ONE COMPLETE,” which was posted to a channel called “prophet oftruth88.” A Facebook page under the name “profitofdoom008” contains videos similar to those posted to the “prophet oftruth88” YouTube channel, some of which feature an individual sporting identical clothing worn in the YouTube videos, and also includes a playlist titled “PROPHETOFTRUTH88.” On Wednesday, YouTube wiped James’ channel, saying it was “terminated for violating YouTube’s Community Guidelines.” (A rep for YouTube did not immediately return Rolling Stone‘s request for comment.)
Although the man in videos uploaded to both the YouTube and Facebook accounts never identifies himself by name, he bears a strong resemblance to photos of James distributed by authorities. In a news conference Tuesday, NYPD commissioner Keechant Sewell stated Mayor Adams’ security detail has been bolstered “in light of the videos,” the New York Times reported — thus indirectly confirming the link between James and the disturbing social media posts.
In his videos — which number in the hundreds and feature titles such as “why we need more racial profiling,” “should the black woman be forcibly sterilized,” and “TO KILL OR NOT TO KILL” — James often rails against numerous racial and ethnic groups, including whites, Blacks, Jews, and Latinos. He also compares people of color to “a bunch of turds in a toilet,” waiting to be “flushed” down the drain by society, and implies that a race war between whites and Blacks is imminent. In one video, he calls Sept. 11, 2001 “the most beautiful day in the history of this country.”
“White people and Black people should not have any contact with each other,” he says in a March 23 video titled “born in an insane asylum.” “Their anger is building up. Nothing can happen here differently than what happened over in Europe with the Jews. I want you to believe that that’s possible.”
In a March 2 video named “TOLD YOU SO,” James uses a news segment on recent subway attacks as a segue into an attack on Mayor Adams’ policies against crime and homelessness, seemingly implying that his struggles are a direct result of the failures of New York City social services.
“These are the people that was supposed to be helping me. They made me worse,” he says, gesturing to a computer screen opened to a photo file named “THEM HOSE,” which appears to display headshots of employees of New Jersey’s Bridgeway Behavioral Health Services — an organization James references in numerous videos. “They made me fucking worse. They made me more dangerous than I could ever — than anything, anyone could ever fucking imagine. These are the people that Eric Adams wants to send out to help the homeless and whatever the case may be. It ain’t gonna happen.”
James then goes on to describe the individuals as Adams’ “calvary,” before launching into a homophobic and anti-Semitic screed against the South Bronx Mental Health Council and Albert Einstein College of Medicine. “A bunch of fucking predators. A bunch of deviants. A bunch of psychopath and sociopathic fucking bitches,” he says. “They’re going to help you, Eric.”
In the same video, James mocks the mayor’s subway safety plan rolled out earlier this year, going so far as to suggest he could easily commit a crime in a subway station without being caught. “He can’t stop no fucking crime in no subways. He may slow it down, but he ain’t stopping shit,” he laughs, adding that the large number of entry and exit points from subway stations would make apprehending criminals nearly impossible. “With this program in place, with all these police — I’d still get off. I know I could get off because they can’t be everywhere… Those who go on to commit crimes, like shooting? That means you have to have police in every station, and that’s not possible.”
Among the many topics James tackles in his rambling, slur-laden videos is his belief that Black Americans have allowed themselves to be “Europeanized” by whites. He occasionally flip flops between admiration and hatred for other Black Americans, often espousing Black nationalist ideals and calling for the creation of a Black ethnostate before immediately disparaging educated Blacks and prominent Black women such as Vice President Kamala Harris and newly confirmed Supreme Court Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson. “If they tried to exterminate us, I would not be mad for one fucking bit,” he says of white people. “They can’t live with each other, but they’re going to live with your Black ass? Your half-monkey, cursed by God, Black fuckin’ stinkin’ ass?”
One of James’ most egregiously racist videos is “they hate jew” — a convoluted, semi-autobiographical tirade uploaded to Facebook in late 2017 that finds him fantasizing about killing a Latino man whom he claims prevented him from advancing his machining career, and suggesting that Jewish individuals “have so much contempt for Blacks,” despite undergoing the horrors of the Holocaust. “These Jews obviously haven’t learned shit from their experience. You know, it hasn’t humbled them in the slightest,” he says. “They’re all — or the majority of them — still arrogant and still feel they’re superior and something above Black people. And, again, those motherfuckers don’t contribute to shit to life on this earth but shit, piss, pollution, and death and destruction.”
James’ consistent use of the same usernames results in an online footprint that leads to several more YouTube accounts — one of which, WFJFURADIO, contains content that the uploader states dates back to as early as 2002. Another account containing videos over a decade old features a man wearing the exact same shirt worn by James in the “born in an insane asylum” clip from just one month ago.
How James managed to slip under the radar for so long, despite repeatedly making violent threats and spreading hate speech through some of the most heavily moderated social media platforms, remains a mystery. Yet, as of early Wednesday morning, James still has not been identified as the prime suspect in the subway shooting. However, his final rage-filled upload, an April 11 clip called “DOMESTICATED AVERAGES,” serves as an eerie precursor to Tuesday’s violence, revealing the mindset of a mentally anguished hatemonger at his breaking point.
“I’ve been through a lot of shit, where I can say I wanted to kill people. I wanted to watch people die right in front of my fucking face immediately,” he says. “But, I thought about the fact that, ‘Hey man, I don’t wanna go to no fucking prison.’ Fuck that…So, I had to absorb the bullshit. Even though it was building up inside me, what could I do? Not much.”
Updated at 9:08 a.m. ET on 4/13/22 to reflect that Frank R. James is now considered a suspect, and not just a person of interest, in the NYC subway shooting. Updated at 12:32 p.m. ET on 4/13/22 after YouTube deleted James’ channel.
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